Connecticut's Veterans Commissioner spoke in Washington D.C Wednesday at her nomination hearing to a federal VA position.
President Obama nominated Linda Schwartz to become the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning at the U.S Veterans Affairs Department. Schwartz told members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Wednesday that being nominated for the federal job is overwhelming but she's proud of this moment. She recalled her experience with the VA when she was medically retired from the Air Force.
Schwartz said, "I've also used VA healthcare services and programs after sustaining injuries in aircraft accident while I was serving as an Air Force flight nurse. I was not able to get any service or help except from the VA and it was a long time before I actually found them. And as I did I became an advocate because I saw firsthand how hard it was for many veterans at the time to navigate a system that they didn't fully understand."
She said as the military has changed over the years, so have the needs of veterans. If confirmed she says she would work to prioritize making sure the VA is accountable to meeting those needs. Schwartz told the Senators that the VA must build on existing partnerships with state and local organizations and faith based groups to ensure a continuum of quality care. Her nomination must be confirmed by the full Senate.
She was first appointed state veterans' commissioner in 2003 and has been re-appointed by two successive governors from both political parties.